Sign Up for
Google Alerts!

content headlines
sent out every day
email us to sign up





Latest Column:
Stopping the Meltdown
What Beltway Republicans Need To Do

opinon in
Reagan country



Jon Fleischman’s
The premier source for
California political news


Michael Ramirez
editorial cartoon


Do your part to do right by our troops.
They did the right thing for you.
Donate Today




tOR Talk Radio
Contributor Sites
Laura Ingraham

Hugh Hewitt
Eric Hogue
Sharon Hughes
Frank Pastore
[Radio Home]




Winds of Conflict
When Everyone Needs to Do Better
[Carol Platt Liebau] 9/5/05

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, pictures of suffering blanketed America’s television screens last week – breaking the nation’s heart as nothing has since the dark days immediately following 9/11.

In some ways, this catastrophe is even worse. There is no enemy to pursue; the hurricane on Sunday and the floods resulting from the levee breaches on Tuesday is nothing if not a natural disaster. But as the poor, sick, elderly and young languished in the city for several days waiting for help to arrive, along with heartsick sympathy and compassion, Americans began to feel understandable frustration and anger at what seemed like the inexcusably slow reaction time of the federal government.

Carol Platt Liebau - Senior

Carol Platt Liebau is editorial director and a senior member of tOR and CRO editorial boards. She is an attorney, political analyst and commentator based in San Marino, CA, and has appeared on the Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CNN, Orange County News Channel, Cox Cable and a variety of radio programs throughout the United States. A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, Carol Platt Liebau also served as the first female managing editor of the Harvard Law Review. Her web log can be found at [go to Liebau index]

Clearly, as President Bush himself said, the federal response was “unacceptable.” And indeed, there will be many questions about not only the apparent absence of any state and local disaster preparedness, but also about why the federal government couldn’t have done more, and sooner.

But it’s not only the local, state and federal government’s response to the disaster that bears examination and amendment. Unlike the unity and bipartisanship that characterized the political response to 9/11, in this case – where it was apparent another catastrophe wasn’t imminent – the political grandstanding began before the city was evacuated and the dead found and buried. .

Charges, recriminations and righteous denunciation have thundered from the television from politicians of both parties – when they, the country and those suffering would have been better served by purposeful determination and calm resolution. Many members of the press, who reported courageously as the heartbreaking events transpired, lapsed into hyperemotional temper tantrums when it came time for analysis. One nadir occurred when CNN’s Anderson Cooper berated Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) on the air, because the Senator chose to remain calm and express appreciation – rather than heaping vituperation – on those who were laboring mightily to bring aid to the Gulf Coast.

Taking a cue from the press and politicians – many of whom have attributed the lapses in government response to deliberate racism and indifference to the poor – the left-wing partisans were out within 48 hours of the disaster, spouting incendiary allegations without a shred of evidence. Accusations characterized more by their heat than their merit appeared on the internet, including the following: Global warming caused the hurricane (wrong); lack of federal funding doomed the levees and, by extension, the city (although all the federal funding ever requested would have only protected New Orleans from a less severe hurricane than Katrina); the tax cuts created the funding loss that doomed the levees (wrong; Army Corps of Engineer projects have been underfunded since the Carter administration, and the tax cuts actually increased revenues to the federal treasury last year); and the war in Iraq created troop shortfalls that would otherwise have been available for hurricane relief (wrong; Iraq accounts for only 10.2 percent of the Army).

For some time, many have been decrying the bitter partisanship that has marked American politics. For the most part, however, it has always seemed that some partisanship is a benefit in a democracy. It creates a marketplace of ideas, and the kind of competition that prevents elected politicians of both parties from becoming arrogant, corrupt or lazy.

But when hatred of those on the “other side” creates a climate in which political finger-pointing, race-baiting and recrimination take center stage even in a crisis, something is seriously wrong. Most of all, the demagoguery obscures and marginalizes the real questions that need to be addressed – and elicits defensive reactions that inhibit real reform.

Perhaps all of us – local, state and federal government; the press; and Americans generally – need to think about how we can do better. tOR

Columnist Carol Platt Liebau is a political analyst, commentator and theOneRepublic / editorial director based in San Marino, CA. Ms. Liebau also served as the first female managing editor of the Harvard Law Review. Her web log can be found at

copyright 2005


Blue Collar -  120x90
120x90 Jan 06 Brand
Free Trial Static 02
ActionGear 120*60
Free Trial Static 01
Applicable copyrights indicated. All other material copyright 2003-2005